4 things you’re {already} doing to raise a writer

4 things you're {already} doing to raise a writer

EVERY homeschooling parent hits the skids now and then—and that’s when the questions pour forth: Am I a good teacher? Are the kids learning anything from me? Why is this so hard? 

Writing is a subject that can quickly make the most confident of homeschool moms feel like a complete and utter failure. And when you get into this funk, it’s easy to focus on everything that’s going south and fail to notice things you’re doing well. (And there are things you’re doing well!)

You may have the most resistant or reluctant writer at your kitchen table each morning, but throughout the day and week, that same child is learning from you as you live out these four important actions:

1. Equipping

What homeschooler’s house isn’t happily overrun with writing supplies? Most likely, your drawers spill over with markers, pencils, and crayons. These tools—along with paper, spiral notebooks, blackboards, and dry-erase boards—equip and encourage your children to express themselves in writing.

In pleasant weather, you watch them take to the sidewalk with chalk to draw pictures and write words. Letter magnets invite your littlest ones to begin forming words on the fridge, and older kids enjoy using magnetic word strips to compose sentences and poems. Even your teens type out stories on laptops and pour their hearts into diaries or journals.

A new school year is around the corner. Why not create even more writing buzz simply by investing in some brand-new school supplies?

2. Modeling

We know it’s important to model reading for our kids, but it’s just as important to model writing. When your children see you scratching out a grocery list, planning a camping trip on a legal pad, typing a blog article, taking sermon notes, or penning a letter to your sister, they’re internalizing the importance of the written word in daily life.

3. Cheerleading

Every day, you encourage your children’s attempts at scribbling, drawing, making letters, and using inventive spelling to write new words. This simple act of affirmation tells them that writing is both admirable and fun.

It’s not as easy to stay positive about their writing attempts as they get older (and their mistakes are no longer cute). But don’t stop looking for the good! Correction has its place, but your positive, encouraging words bring blessing into their lives and free them up to try new things when writing!

Encourage children to write

I love that you let your children be themselves—who God created them to be, not who you think they should be.

In her article How to Raise a Writer, author Cathy Lamb affirms: ”A squashed spirit will produce a squashed voice. A squashed voice will never write.” In the best way you know how, you’re shaping your kids’ character, guiding their growth, and tempering their will without constraining their spirit.

You may not realize it, but you’re taking steps to call out the writer in your child!

4. Reading

I know this about you: You make reading a priority with your chldren. By reading aloud, making trips to the library, and providing your kids with books at home, you’re helping them make a connection between reading and writing.

Reading opens up new worlds of imagination, mystery, and adventure. Quality literature exposes children to rich vocabulary, vivid description, and engaging narratives. While strong readers don’t always become strong writers, a correlation does exist: Reading can have a powerful effect on a child’s interest in writing.

On the worst of days, you won’t recognize the seeds you’ve planted, watered, and tended. You’re way more likely to see weeds, thorns, and bare spots! But from time to time, whenever a tiny bud appears, you’ll get glimpses of the writer within. Just know that I’m believing with you for the day when that writer comes into full bloom!

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Photos: Kate Hiscock and Rolfe Kolbe, courtesy of Creative Commons.
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1 comment so far ↓

#1 Forrest Lybrand on 07.26.12 at 7:45 am

As a former homeschooled kid (I’m in college now studying English), I love seeing blogs like this. As a writer, I agree with 4 the most, read…read…READ. It fuels creativity and ideas and imagination. I was already a natural storyteller as a kids, but like you said, it was reading other books that was the most powerful fuel for my desire to write. No. 3 is important too because it’ll get your kid writing, which is truly the most important thing. Learning by writing is an obvious way to practice and hone the skill, and the more you write the more you learn. This blog is great, writing and homeschooling are very dear to me. I think it’s great that you’re helping people with how to teach children to write, and how to encourage kids too.

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